Impact of Islamic Revolution on Islamic Awakening

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The Islamic Revolution and its offshoot, religious democracy, are the greatest legacies of Imam Khomeini. Indeed the Islamic Revolution is designated as the greatest revolution of 20th century. It has left its impacts on other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. A quick look at some of the characteristics of the Islamic Revolution would shed light on the fact that the main quest of the Muslim countries are what the Islamic Revolution has introduced to the nations across the world. Some of these characteristics are discussed below.


1 - Liberation from Domination of Superpowers


Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the dominant powers through their propaganda

and show of power could convince the nations and the weak leaders that they could not confront them and that any move to become independent of the superpowers was doomed to fail. Through

their propaganda and due to the weakness of governments, the big powers had created a

false sanctuary for themselves, and the very trick had caused the nations to ignore their own

power, belief and determination in defeating the powers. The Islamic Revolution

astonished the entire world through defeating the oppressive monarch, that enjoyed strong international support, and then through its astonishing resistance against both the United States and former Soviet Union, by raising the slogan of “neither East nor West” and through the resistance it put up against the eight years of Iraqi aggression that enjoyed the support of most powers of the world power, led by the United States, Zionism and the West.

All these developments also demonstrated the hollowness of the domineering powers

and convinced the nations that their will, faith and millions strength move could really

overpower the systems which are equipped with the most sophisticated weapons.

“Among other features of the modern world our honorable Imam and Revolution created

in the world include the principle of liberation from domination, occupation and

sphere of influence of the great powers; and also the fact that a nation by relying on itself

and trust in God in confronting an oppressive power does not trust or rely on anybody

or does not trust any power; it was the path our nation started under the leadership of our

honorable Imam and today this path is finding a large number of followers in the world.”

(Ayatollah Khamenei).

2 - Introducing New Governance Criteria

The Islamic Republic, which is the offshoot of the Islamic Revolution, offered the

notion of negation of both the great camps of the day, which manifested in the form of two

superpowers and had divided the world countries into two blocs under their domination.

The main slogan of the Islamic Revolution in this regard was “neither East, nor West” which

was an expression of opposition to the permutation of forces under the umbrella of two

superpowers. In other words, the Islamic Republic would not follow the Eastern and

Western models and therefore negated any alliance, covert or overt, with the said blocs, for

it has its own independent values and principles, which are supported by the people. The

main reason of the hostility of both the superpowers with the newly-established Islamic

Republic was the fact that it introduced a new model to the thoughtful, free human beings,

particularly the Muslims. The Islamic Republic has two aspects, that is, “Republic” and

“Islamic”. The term republic is a known concept in political systems in which the “people”

form the basis and pillar of the political system. The combination of Islam with republic,

demonstrates a new kind of political system. Although it was not unprecedented and some

of the Islamic countries had already established republican systems, the new system was

really unknown in the world because of its peculiar features, that is, genuine Islam and true

participation of the people in the political processes. “Before the victory of the

Islamic Revolution, the world had experienced two kinds of political systems and accepted

them: one, the Western democracies, and second, the socialist systems… the Eastern and

Western blocs fiercely opposed and antagonized each other. But when the Islamic Republic

was established as a new form of government, both the blocs astonishingly and then in

a horrified manner confronted it! What was the reason? The reason was that the Islamic

Republic enjoyed certain features that would negate both the prevailing systems in those

camps, considering them unfit and harmful for man’s life – and it announced it. In other

words, the two political systems prevailing the East and West had some commonalities

and the public culture was similar in those countries, that is, pushing the people towards

ignorance and unleashing the rein of promiscuity and caprices. This was what existed

in both the political systems.This is the common culture of the East and West.”

3 – Islamic Awakening among Muslims

Undoubtedly had the Islamic Revolution remained confined to the geographical borders

of Iran, it would not have provoked the animosity of the imperialists to the present extent,

but the characteristics and messages of genuine Islam do not recognize geographical

borders. Hence, the Muslim nations were influenced by the messages of the Islamic

Revolution and followed its model, which resulted in an Islamic awakening and dignity

and grandeur of the Muslims across the world. Wherever a Muslim took pride in the

Islamic Revolution, it led to honor and dignity and he woke up to rise against the injustices

and oppressions of imperialists and their lackeys. The security of the diabolic powers was endangered and hence they became hostile to this revolution and tried to suppress it, but did

not succeed. Although this wave of awakening has encompassed most of the Islamic countries and Muslims of the world, other nations too under the influence of the humane messages of this revolution feel dignified and greatness. Other nations now feel that they are powerful and are

able to withstand the domineering powers. The countries that could never clearly and openly

oppose the United States, talk of opposing Washington and the West today. “In the new era, which was launched by the Imam and its sphere is not limited to Iran, the masse are the main determining factors and decision makers; it is they who direct the currents… You have observed

that in the Eastern European countries millions of masses move and come to the scene

in the same style our nation did in confronting and opposing the oppressive monarchical

system. In other words, the basic characteristic of the new era is victory of blood over the

sword, that is, during the new era, as it happened in Iran, all citizens without any equipment

and weapon, only with their souls and bodies come to the scene and expert pressure on

the oppressive, usurping governments.” (Ayatollah Khamenei).

“This nation holds a magnificent flag. The flag you hoisted has awakened the world.

Just see what is going on in Palestine today; what is going on in North Africa. See how

Islam is restoring its rights in the Muslim societies. All these achievements have been accomplished by you. They had raised Muslim in a manner that they felt weak vis-à-vis the culture of arrogance and infidelity. In many places the Muslims have been able to restore their

rights and regain a share in the government systems, while before the Islamic Revolution no

one dared to speak of Islam. In the Muslim countries where the Friday and daily prayers leaders

set up organizations and prosper mosques to become centers of movement, until yesteryears

the mosques belonged to a bunch of disabled old men. Today, those mosques are the

site of the youth and center of movements. It has been, in effect, accomplished by you.

It was accomplished by your movement and your honorable leader – that divine man. This

is why the enemies of Islam are angry with you: “Never will the Jews or the Christians be

satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion.” Whether the arrogance likes it

or not; whether the US likes it or not; and whether the Zionism likes it or not, Islam has

reawakened – this great hero of centuries has once again risen in the middle of the scene. The

enemies of Islam cannot do anything [against it].

4 - Revival of Religious, Ethical, Spiritual and Ideological


The people during the course of the Islamic Revolution were looking for changes on the basis

of Islam. The longstanding endeavor of the global arrogance and its domestic agents to eliminate Islam from political, social and cultural life of the people were thwarted with the victory of the Islamic Revolution. The people put the religious beliefs top on their agenda during the course of the revolution. This Islamic feature prepared the grounds for comprehensiveness of the revolution

as a result of which the revolution did not remain confined to the clerical class; on the contrary, the entire nation participated in the revolutionary scenes, for they considered the revolution of themselves and for themselves. Also Islam and Islamic objectives were always given priority over other goals. “The Islamic Revolution began from the house of religion – that is, mosque and

seminary – and religious orientation become stronger day by day. The role of religion

and spiritual values became so strong that attracted such figures towards the revolution

who normally would not come to the scene in any other revolution. Even the aged, apolitical

people and those living in remote villages came to the scene of struggle and joined

the revolutionary mainstream. People's rage in the course of the revolution was not because

of a material objective, rather it was due to their demands for religion, spirituality and God.

After the victory of the revolution, the government that was established on the basis of the

revolution was an Islamic government, that is the Islamic Republic. The government did not

waver to the left or right, rather it remained the in the right path of religion and did not give up

the religion with the passage of time. In fact, in legislation, in election of the executives, employees and top officials – such as the parliament members and others – the people participated in the political processes on the basis of Islamic criteria. Religion was the [main] feature of our religion and it remained so. It was not such that religion becomes

the feature of the revolution for sometimes and then it changes into something else.

This feature is not found in any other revolution; and, due to this very feature which was an important factor, wherever a heart throbs for Islam, it is interested in the Islamic

Republic – which moves for Islam and thinks of the sublimation of the word of Islam.”

5 – Engaging the People

With respect to the role of the people in revolutions, one must bear in mind that great revolutions are inherently social movements and are therefore imbued with social characteristics.

Furthermore, they comprise other elements such as co-existence and mutual cooperation toward optimal use of available resources for reaching common goals and ideals. Also, since

they are public affairs and involve the multitudes, they contain an amalgamation

of views and opinions, which for a period happen to agree on the necessity of bringing down the ruling establishment. The last point we must not forget in this regard is that although

in a classification we can differentiate between the leaders of a revolution and the masses, because social revolutions are so popular and widespread in their adherents, and great in nature,

and have to satisfy a great number of views and beliefs, they have always been vulnerable.

6 - The Leadership

It should be borne in mind that a general state of public dissatisfaction with the political system

and the bipolarization of the society do not necessarily lead to a revolution. The preliminary

stage of any revolution is widespread popular participation in various phases of a revolution,

which culminates in a sudden social explosion within that society. However, if this popular participation is bereft of a strong leadership, or if the leadership is not able to direct the popular

movement efficiently and in a desired manner, or generate the needed vitality and dynamism

in the necessary political institutions, the revolutionary movement will probably not succeed.

7- Political Spirituality

This is a variable, which at times causes divergence and separation between various social

groups, and consists of the special make-up of each of these social groups’ values. And without

ideology scattered social groups are not able to unite effectively.


Although the common need for freedom is perhaps the necessary proviso and condition for

any revolution, at the same time, a revolution must have a forward looking ideology with a

desirable framework of values to replace those of the system it is trying to bring down. In other

words, in revolutions we have a full-fledge competition between the revolutionary ideologies

and the old system of values and thus, they define and clarify the values of a balanced and

dynamic society. In this regard, one must bear in mind that some ideologies comprise limited

beliefs and ideas and are only useful more in a psychological sense in that they reduce

the pain commonly felt by the people, or are effective in blaming an issue or matter as the cause of all shortcomings. However, a revolutionary ideology means a plan for immediate change

from the prevailing conditions, and at times, revolutionary ideologies have a religious nature and the revolutionaries believe they receive divine help in their common endeavor, and in a real

sense are based on, and buoyed by a set of religious values. Having reviewed some general aspects of revolutions, we can proceed to compare and contrast these three elements with respect to the victory of the Islamic Revolution: The Islamic Revolution is the result

and culmination of a long labor and experience of the people of Iran and its elite – both seminary and university scholars - in their unrelenting fight against the twin phenomena of colonization

and dictatorship. The passage of years and decades, and the futility of all attempts, strategies, and non-Islamic ideologies to find solutions to the root causes of many problems facing

the Iranian people, caused the people to turn to Islam as the religion, which would and

could address their socio-economic and political concerns as well as their spiritual ones.

To be sure, belief in Islam in this land is more than a millennium old, but was not commonly

known as a religion, which could also offer a viable system of governance as well. Therefore,

it took the truly unique person of Imam Khomeini to prove the logic and righteousness

of interwoven nature of religion and politics, using the Holy Quran and the recorded words

and deeds (the Traditions) of the holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. Armed with true Islamic

tenets and teachings, the Iranian nation could, at last, pursue its freedom from the chains

of neo-colonialism and dictatorship through reliance on the unconquerable bastion of

Islam, and finally, triumphed against all odds. That the Iranians stage a revolution under the banner of Islam was and is a very deep transformation, which seems rather strange on a planet almost conquered by the idea of the separation of religion and state. It is sadly a fact of contemporary history, which has seldom been studied and researched by the academia and

analysts. However, there are exceptions to this unfortunate fact. One is the prominent French

philosopher Michel Foucault who was curious enough to travel to Iran soon after the

Revolution and is among the few foreign thinkers and intellectuals who found the subject

worthy of deep thought and research. He was well aware that even his countrymen will

not accept his words and views – mainly because of the longstanding dominance of the belief

that religion is barren and unproductive when it comes to social matters, and this has

made them become incapable of any new and innovative thoughts in this regard. He

writes: What meaning, for the people who inhabit our land, the search for the possibilities

that we lost after the Renaissance and the great crisis of Christianity has? A search for

political spirituality? I can already hear the French people’s roar of laughter. But I know

they are mistaken.

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